2016-11-24 / Front Page

Police Share Bridge Traffic Stop Statistics

By Stephanie Fortino

The Michigan State Police Post in St. Ignace keeps a watchful eye over the Mackinac Bridge, and in the last year, made 217 stops for traffic violations. Speeding is a common citation on the bridge, State Police Post Commander Lieutenant Natalie King told the Mackinac Bridge Authority Thursday, November 3. Most of the arrests made on the bridge are for transporting narcotics.

In the last year, state troopers have spent 223 hours on the Mackinac Bridge, not including 160 hours devoted to the Labor Day Bridge Walk.

In total, 217 vehicles were stopped for violations while crossing the Mackinac Bridge

State troopers have issued 38 hazardous citations and five non-hazardous citations. Troopers issued 176 verbal warnings to traffic violators crossing the bridge.

In all, state troopers made 36 arrests, mostly for transporting narcotics. Included were 31 misdemeanor arrests, three felony arrests, and two fugitive arrests. There were also two arrests made for domestic violence incidents that occurred in vehicles as they crossed the bridge.

“Other people called in,” Lt. King said of those incidents, “and we were able to intercept the vehicles and make arrests in those two circumstances, which were rather unique and certainly things we do not want occurring in vehicles traveling across the bridge.”

State police have issued 34 speeding citations so far this year. Of those, 30 were for violators traveling at least 16 miles per hour over the 45 milesper hour speed limit. The biggest violation was 41 miles per hour over the speed limit, meaning a motorist was traveling at 86 miles per hour while crossing the Mackinac Bridge.

“There are people that are speeding and driving way too fast for the bridge,” Lt. King said, “and that’s where I expect the troopers to be focusing their activities because that’s where people get hurt.”

The State Police has also made several felony narcotics arrests in the past year. Most narcotics travel north across the bridge, she continued, destined for universities in the Upper Peninsula.

“There are a lot of drugs coming across the bridge,” Lt. King said.

Probation violations, suspended drivers license violations, and operating while intoxicated (OWI) violations are other common citations. In the last year, five drivers have been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, crossing the bridge.

Commercial Vehicle Enforcement

Lieutenant Doug Szczepanski also gave a report from the motor carrier division of the state police post. Commercial vehicle enforcement on the Mackinac Bridge is divided into two districts: the 7th District in the Lower Peninsula and the 8th District in the Upper Peninsula.

From October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016, troopers spent 614 hours enforcing traffic laws on the Mackinac Bridge in the 8th District (U.P.) and 130 hours in the 7th District.

In the U.P. District, 148 citations were written, including 78 for weight violations and 18 for following too closely or improper passing on the Mackinac Bridge.

For general enforcement, 252 vehicles were stopped on the bridge, 134 were weighed, and 223 were inspected. Of the inspections, 53 inspections were level-one inspections, where troopers visually inspect the trucks and potentially place them out of service, and 25 were inspections for hazardous materials.

In the 7th district, 41 citations were written using the high-speed weigh-in-motion scale in Mackinaw City. The average citation was $1,368, for a total of $56,096 collected in fines, which mostly go to libraries, Lt. Szczepanski said.

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